Have you heard yet?

Sometimes, even bad news is better than our imagined outcome.

The imagined outcome includes a lot of ‘What if’s

We may or may not be able to influence the outcome but worrying about something when we’re not sure exactly what we’re worrying about can be more wearing than worrying about something specific.

You’ve been called for a meeting with the boss.

You have sensed an atmosphere lately. You can tell the managers have been talking about you.

What if you are going to be told that you’ve lost your job?

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Yes that’s a possibility but equally, what if they are about to tell you you’ve been promoted?

You torture yourself with ‘What if…..’

Do you always assume the worst?

In everyday life we worry about ‘What if’ and it really is a waste of energy.

Very often the ‘What if’ doesn’t come about and so it wasn’t time well spent imagining all the scenarios that might have been.

Take the example where you’re going for a check-up at the dentist.

You hate having fillings and are so worried that they will tell you that you need one.

You are awake all night before you go.

You snap at your husband / children / colleagues because you are so on edge.

You refuse an invitation to dinner the evening of the appointment because you don’t feel you will be up to it.

You arrive at your dentist appointment, pale and feeling a bit nauseous.

They check your teeth over and they tell you you’re fine.

What a relief!

Whilst relieved, it can sometimes leave you feeling a bit deflated.

All of that adrenaline pumping round for a good 24 hours beforehand and nothing to ‘release’ it on.

Alternatively:

You know that you have to have a filling. You have told the dentist how worried you are. They’ve told you that they will give you extra injections so that you will be so numb you couldn’t possibly feel anything at all.

They tell you that they will put a numbing gel on before the injection so that you won’t even feel that.

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You know that you will have your ipod/phone (Walkman?!) charged up and ready to go. (This will become clear….).

So with all this in place, you aren’t nearly so worried.

You may not exactly be looking forward to it but at least it’s not a black splodge on your horizon.

The actual news isn't as bad as the imagined news.

You arrive at the dentist and settle in the chair. You put your headphones on and turn your music up really loud.

They do the work almost unbeknown to you as you have your eyes shut, you are completely numb and you are transported to another world with your music.

Preparation.

Whether practically, emotionally or psychologically, as in this case, it can help a lot.

Once you have these steps in place, you don’t have to worry about ‘What if…’ because you have that scenario covered.

The same applies whether it’s a trip to the dentist, an interview, a first date, starting a new business or job, buying a house....whatever.

Think about what pitfalls you may encounter and put something in place so that they aren’t a worry anymore.

Another example of how you might use your imagination as an implement of torture:

You call a friend and they aren’t in so you leave a message.

You know they’re going to a family event and it’s likely to be unpleasant for them as Uncle Joe will be there who they don’t get along with.

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So you leave your message ‘Sorry to have missed you. Hope you have a good time at the party! Enjoy! See you soon.’

You don’t hear back from them.

You start to replay your message in your head.

Oh no how could I have been so insensitive!

I know they were dreading the party and I say ‘Have fun! Enjoy it!’.

They must really hate me.

Another couple of days passes and still no word.

Oh no. What have I done.

We’ve been such good friends for years and I’ve ruined it with one stupid phone call.

So what can you do about this?

Is there a way of putting it right?

Your friend loves spa treatments so you figure that you can treat them to a spa day. 

That will show them how much they mean to you.

You can apologise for your message by doing this.

It’s been a week now and you’re having trouble sleeping but feel that you have found a good solution and resolve to book the

spa-day in the morning.

You wake bright and early and go to Tescos to do your weekly shop before heading off to the spa to see what they can offer.

Whilst getting out of your car, you see your friend a couple of spaces down.

They spot you.

‘Hello!’ calls over your friend ‘What a coincidence! Have you got time for a coffee?’

Dumbfounded you stare at her.

‘What’s up?’ she asks.

‘The phone message……’ you manage to stammer.

‘What message? I haven’t had a message from you.’

So, what happened to that message, who knows, but it does demonstrate how we can turn no news into bad news.

All that worry, energy and heartache wasted on a story that you had made up in your head.

The next time you feel yourself doing a ‘What if….’ think again.

Are these facts that you’re dealing with or are they assumptions?

If it’s to do with a trip to the dentist, why not assume the best and not the worst? If you do have to have some work done, you’ll deal with it when the time comes.

If you are convinced that you aren’t good enough for the job that you are about to interview for, think again. Even if you’re right about that, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be so impressed with you that they find another role for you. If you don’t give it your best because you think you know the outcome, you’ll never know.

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If that person that you fancy doesn’t seem to know you exist, find out. Maybe they never look your way because they do fancy you and are shy. What’s the worst that can happen? You go over for a chat and they blank you. Mildly embarrassing maybe but nothing more than that.

No news isn’t necessarily bad news.

Until you have the facts of the situation, don’t make assumptions and torture yourself with the possible outcomes.

What do you ‘What if’ about?

Maybe you have a regular ‘What if’ that keeps you in a permanent state of anxiety?

‘What if no-one likes me’ ‘What if I say the wrong thing’ ‘What if the car breaks down’ ‘What if………..’

What if-ing is a waste of time and energy.

If you would like some help to stop this then please do get in touch but otherwise, I wish you a new and What-if free life!

​Bye for now!

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by Jessica Hylands Confidence Coach

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